Tempers flared and push turned to shove as the Queanbeyan Blues took one step closer to the Canberra Raiders Cup.
But according to player-coach Terry Campese, that's just finals footy.
Queanbeyan earned their ticket to the grand final following an emphatic 32-18 win over Tuggeranong Bushrangers at Seiffert Oval on Sunday.
But the hard-fought victory came at a cost as winger George Stewart dislocated his shoulder and Josh Hitchins came limping off with an ankle injury.
"It was a hard-fought battle and there was a lot of aggression in the play," Campese said.
"Our boys were outstanding and but there's a few blokes with injuries so we're lucky to have the next week off."
A beautiful dummy from Josh Stuckey split open the defence and he charged through to score the first try of the match.
Tuggeranong's Nathan Smith dived over the line from dummy-half to even the score but the Blues hit-back as Stuckey scored his second try.
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"Stuckey loves big games and our middles have been outstanding for us this year," Campese said.
"He's been in the Raiders system which really showed today. He's a quality player and I hope he moves on and players higher grade football."
A try to Ngarima Low held the match tied at 12-all but Mathew Parsons drew a penalty in the final minute and the conversion sent the minor premiers into the sheds with a two-point lead.
Tuggeranong came back firing in the second-half as fullback Michael Brophy beat three defenders and dived over the line to give the Bushrangers their first lead of the match.
But four straight sets at the Tuggeranong line gave Queanbeyan a chance to crack open the match and retake control.
"The boys lifted from there and tough physical game at the end until the last second," Campese said.
"We chatted about how it wasn't going to be easy and neither side gave up."
A sharp pass from Jack Williams saw Michael Cullen charge to the try-line and spark the Blues' late resurgence.
But celebrations turned into push-and-shove after Aidan Woods extended their lead. Bushrangers' Drury Low got sent to the sin-bin for striking and causing a scuffle, leaving Tuggeranong a player short for the remaining eight minutes.
The sent-off left coach Jarrod Teka furious after his side copped the brunt of the calls and were penalised out of the game.
"I don't mind the infringements but when the opposition does it to you repeatedly over and over, it takes it toll," Teka said.
"Tristan Eldride got hit high in the first-half but no penalty was blown. I couldn't believe it because he was clearly out and these things add up.
"I feel for the boys because the better team didn't win today. We didn't get a fair call."
Queanbeyan capitalised on the extra-man and blew out the margin to 14-points as Jake Wheeler dived over the line with four minutes left.
The Blues will face the winner of Tuggeranong's preliminary-final clash with the Goulburn Bulldogs for a spot in the decider next week.
The Bushrangers will be sweating on the fitness of Jacob McGrath, Matt Dragisic, Jayden Thomas and Tristan Eldridge, who came limping off Seiffert Oval.
"We're in a lot of trouble for next week," Teka admitted.
"We're hoping to have strength in numbers so we'll try and get as many boys back on deck as we can, but it's not looking good for them.
"Goulburn are going to be very tough to beat and they were clinical against the Roos."
CANBERRA RAIDERS CUP
Major semi-final: QUEANBEYAN BLUES 32 (Tries: Cullen, Stuckey 2, Wheeler, Woods; Goals: Campese 6) bt TUGGERANONG BUSHRANGERS 18 (Tries: Brophy, Low, Smith; Goals: Mitchell 3)
Minor semi-final: GOULBURN BULLDOGS 42 bt QUEANBEYAN KANGAROOS 12